Mackerel deal between EU and Faroe Islands is criticized by Scottish commercial fishing groups

Published on
December 1, 2016

Scottish commercial fishing groups are urging the European Union for changes in a bilateral agreement that establishes mackerel quota and access agreements between the E.U. and the Faroe Islands.

With talks upcoming in Brussels, Belgium on 6 and 7 December to negotiate the future of the agreements, representatives of the commercial fishing industry in Scotland are calling for a reduction in the amount of mackerel and whiting Faroese vessels are allowed to catch in Scottish waters.

Scottish boats did not catch any mackerel in Faroese waters in 2015, while Faroese boats caught 33,000 metric tons of mackerel in E.U. waters – mostly in the Scottish EEZ – according to a report by U.K. authority Seafish.

In a press release, the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen and the Scottish Pelagic Processors Association said the bilateral deal is “heavily skewed” in favor of the Faroese and pushed for a fairer access agreement to be negotiated.

“We want the new agreement for 2017 to ensure there is a reduction in the access arrangements for the Faroese to fish their quota for mackerel in our waters,” Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association Chief Executive Ian Gatt said. “There is a distinct lack of benefit to the U.K., along with the additional costs of monitoring and enforcing Faroese access into our waters.”

Scottish Pelagic Processors Association Chairman Ian McFadden said current Faroese laws also hurt Scottish processors, and said that should be taken into account in the negotiations.

“We are extremely concerned about the current access arrangements because the quality of mackerel is better in our waters. Furthermore, Faroese boats are financially penalized by their own government if they land this mackerel into Scotland,” McFadden said. “This means that Faroese processors are benefiting from fish caught in Scottish seas to the detriment of our own processing industry based in Shetland and the north-east of Scotland.”

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